Vision, diversity, flexibility and an easy going work style are some of the most important assets for any photographer. Brooklyn-based fine art, commercial and editorial photographer Douglas Ljungkvist can lay claim to all of them. His commercial work tends to focus on travel and tourism, architecture and interiors and transportation. His personal work explores the simplicity of every day beauty, color, space and form with an elegant minimalism that can be traced to his Swedish roots. Ljungkvist has exhibited at the New York Photo Festival, Bridge Art Fair, Hereford Photography Festival, Dumbo Arts Festival, Format 11, London Street Photography Festival and many more.
Several years ago Ljungkvist had met a creative director at an industry event in New York City. The CD liked his personal photography and both hoped there would be an opportunity to work together when the need for a New York City photographer came up.
Creative Director Lee Einhorn and Producer Mandi Holdorf at the agency Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco did not forget Ljungkvist when an assignment came up recently to shoot still photography for a series of eBay TV commercials. "Since I met Douglas and saw his work I was immediately drawn to his color palette and tonality, especially in his Urban Car series, but also to his diversity and artistic vision. When it was decided to shoot these commercials in New York City, I was glad that we got the chance to try each other out,” says Einhorn.
The concept for the eBay ads to promote on-demand shopping, anywhere, anytime, using mobile devices was in the catchy tagline "When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.” Although the assignment was not difficult to shoot artistically, the real challenge came with shooting on multiple locations with dozens of crew members making TV commercials. “I had to work quickly, stay out of site of the camera and not get in the crew’s way. Much of the work was grab and run style in between takes. Technically I was surprised how hard I had to push my equipment since the lighting crew had lots of and very strong lights that I hoped to take advantage of,” says Ljungkvist. But he often found himself shooting at ISO 1,000, f/4, 1/80 hand held and flash for everything. Another obstacle was that some of the talent did not have still photography in their contracts, so he had to be very careful to keep them out of the frame. For the eBay assignment, Ljungkvist shot with a Nikon D300, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, Quantum Trio flash and Quantum 2x2 battery pack.
Ljungkvist was also able to accommodate the client on many of their spur-of-the-moment needs. The day after the wrap another photographer was set to shoot formal portraits of the talent for print advertising. As one of the models would not be available, the client came to Ljungkvist and asked if he could do it on location after the shoot. “Well, I never like to say no to a client, and despite less than ideal conditions, it was an opportunity for me,” adds Ljungkvist. He found some continuous lights and a backdrop of sorts and went to work without a stylist or art director and made it all work. The client was very happy with the results, but even more so with his effort, easy working style and flexibility. As CD Einhorn remarks, “I must say, we and the client are thrilled with his work and how easy he was to work with."
Ljungkvist’s images will be used for online and social media as behind-the-scenes photographs to support the eBay ads running on TV. You can view the various series of eBay images at: Bad Dog, Frenzy and New Baby.
Though it's never a done deal until it happens, the agency has already hinted at working with Ljungkvist again the next time they are working in New York with eBay. You can also see more of the many moods and colorful atmospheres that exude strong subtexts, time and memory from Douglas Ljungkvist at his site, www.douglasljungkvist.com.
New Baby/ © Douglas Ljungkvist